Saturday, February 2, 2013

Impulsive Light Blue Pen Purchase...Because, Well, Times Have Changed

Well hello and happy February!  It has been awhile, I know...so today, I managed to get off of my normal weekly habitrail and land in the city of San Carlos, where I felt compelled to survey the inventory of their local Office Depot.  At the start of 2013, I told myself that this is the year that I will not invest much in new pens because of my existing large collection of writing utensils.  In fact, I am certain that were I to never buy a new pen again, I could use all of the pens in my current collection for the rest of my life, and most certainly pass the remainder on to my relatives, friends, and a few lucky school kids, who would all then be well outfitted for at least another year or two in the pen department.  Yes, I am a huge pen enthusiast, hence this blog. (wink-wink).

And it was at the city of San Carlos Office Depot store where I happened upon the subject of this blog entry.  And it was in this store's discount section where I was persuaded (through my own internal decision-making process), to make the impulsive pen purchase of the light blue Cross Click pen (not normally my color preference at all)...because, well, according to Cross, times have changed.  And according to Office Depot, it was 50% off, so how could I resist?  Not to mention, it came with two (2) free additional ink refills, AND a lovely black velvet pouch to boot!

I have read the reviews on the Cross site, and the reviewers there suggest that this pen has let them down because it does not present a consistent ink line on all manner of writing surfaces.  In other words, it skips.

As an experiment, I have started this particular blog entry not having yet given this new Cross pen its first whirl. I will then use up the latter portion of this missive sharing my personal experience with this pen.  Hang on a minute while I retrieve the pen from its "premium" gift box, and I'll let you know how it goes....

Okey dokey!  I'm back, and here's the scoop...but first, let me me confess and tell you that at the end of the day, I will always prefer to have a liquid or gel ink rollerball pen in my hand, preferably from the Pilot line of pens.  I also love a great fountain pen, but as with all beautiful things, there is a lot of maintenance that goes into owning and using one consistently.  (Remind me later to tell you about the super cool fountain pen I recently discovered...kind of dreamy really...)

Back to the new Cross Click...the ballots are in, and I give it 1.5 thumbs up out of 2 possible thumbs.  The issue that I have always had with the Cross brand is that they are beautiful to look at, but kind of slippery to write with.  Accordingly, I will always prefer a pen with some sort of grip, over one without, the exception being the new Caran D'Ache retractable pen which comes in a gorgeous translucent color, and has the classic hexagonal shape which makes it easier to handle than a Cross.  I picked this "consumer grade" pen at Century Pens in Chicago this past December, and have been delighted ever since.  When it comes to a fluid retractable experience, I do not believe that I have experienced a more pleasing "click" than with this particular Caran D'Ache pen. Gotta love that Swiss precision - fabulous! I have included a picture for your reference.  Be sure to check out this pen next time you are in a pen store.  Whoosh goes the clicker!

But I digress...on the issue of the Cross Click's ink flow and density...the ink coming out of this pen is pretty divine.  It is a a darker black ink than most with a nice bold line, and I have yet to find a paper surface that it will not perform on.  I tried a few types...green graph paper, standard white copy paper, spiral bound notebook paper...and there were zero skips along the way.

Compared to the Caran D'ache pen, the "clicker" on the Cross pen gets a one (1) thumbs up.  It's there, it works, but it is literally nothing to write home about.

And so in closing I have to say that I am glad that I am the proud owner of the new Cross Click Pure Teal Gel Ink Pen, which I'll tell you, is no Tiffany purse pen, (which by the way is another one of those really beautiful pens that do not really perform all that well), but it will certainly do for any business meeting, or a brainstorming session with friends, or just jotting down one's bucket list or a list of mundane to do's.  You get my drift.

Until the next time....happy writing!

Oh wait!  I told you to be sure to remind me to tell you about one of the most exciting fountain pens I have purchased, made by Muji.  A Muji store opened up in San Francisco recently, and that is where I found the most basic looking, low cost fountain pen, ever...the Alumi-Round Fountain Pen. I will let the other Muji fountain pen lovers chime in with me - you can find their thoughts here.

As I said earlier, fountain pens are among the most gorgeous pens on the planet; however, they are often high maintenance, the primary issue being their ink flow.  If you are reading this blog, you know exactly what I am talking about.  And so, lo and behold, guess what...the Muji fountain pen starts up instantly each time I pick it up.  It uses cartridges as far as I know, and I have been so pleased with the ink flow and the look and feel of this pen that I lovingly gaze at this pen at least a few times a week.  You know a pen has served you well when it gives you the warm fuzzies.

And so on that note....wishing one and all a perfect shortest month of the year!

Enthusiastically Yours, 

The Lady Quiller
P.S.  What pen(s) have you fallen in love with lately?  


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray for the Pentel® EnerGel® Deluxe RTX Needle Tip Retractable Liquid Gel-Ink Pen!

My fellow pen enthusiasts (and all others), I write ALOT!  But apparently not when it comes to this blog that I set up a couple of years ago thinking that I would be writing extensively about my love of writing utensils.  It just so happens that I was inspired to write about the Pentel EnerGel Needle Tip Retractable Gel Ink pen, when yesterday, I happened into a Staples where these pens were hanging in the pen aisle in abundance.

My love for this particular pen, which I had seen around but had not given much attention to, grew deeper, when I used it while at an automobile detail business to fill out a carbon form in triplicate.  The gentlemen behind the desk swore by this pen for his daily paperwork flow, and when I got my hands on it to fill in my part of the required forms, I immediately understood what drove him to covet this pen.

The metal needle point tip, combined with the squishy (yet, not too squishy) grip, paired with the liquid gel ink, plus the added convenience of the retractable point, make this pen pretty darn dreamy!

When it comes to a quickly accessible; (i.e. non-fountain pen) task, one that requires the fast and no nonsense capturing and writing of ideas, although I am admittedly a hard and fast Pilot pen enthusiast, I give the gel ink flow of the Pentel EnerGel Needle Point "Fine" pen an 8++++ for always being there when you need it.   In the world of writing utensils, there are fewer things more frustrating than attempting to write out a letter, and having your chosen writing tool go dry on the page...and it does not matter how many times this happens to me, for some reason, I never quite believe that the ink has in fact ran out, and I continually attempt to get the last dregs of ink supply from the oblivious tip of the pen.  After inspection of the ink cartridge, if there is visible ink, I have even utilized fire to liquify and therefore coax any decent remaining supply of ink from the well.  Le sigh.

And so in closing, if you are seeking a smooth and silky black gel ink writing experience, after the Pilot series of pens, I vote for the featured pen of this post.  Surprisingly, I am seeing fewer of them hanging in the standard office store aisles which is why I grabbed up a few of them during my last visit to Staples. A close runner up to the Pentel and Pilot offerings is a fabulous gel ink pen from Muji U.S.   If you can get your hands on a Muji Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pen, 0.38MM, then you will have discovered yet another intensely special writing experience of the black gel ink variety.  While not quite as "liquidy" as the Pilot ink delivery system, the Muji is a very handsome pen featuring an opaque body where one can monitor ink levels, at a glance.

I would love to hear from anyone else regarding their chosen amazing black gel ink finds out there in pen land!  Is there really anything better than a fine point Pilot pen for the speedy ink across the page experience?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ignorance is Not Always Bliss


Overheard in the writing utensils aisle at the Office Depot the other day…”What’s the difference between a .5 and a .7 pen?” I silently gasped in horror and disbelief and it took everything I had not to blurt out to the befuddled gentleman “Are you serious?!” As he glided by me in blissful ignorance, I gently lectured him in my head…”The difference is HUGE! Well, depending on the pen. For it is true that for some pen manufacturers there is only a slight difference between their .5 and .7 pen offerings, whereas for others, it is an entirely different writing experience.

Also, (my impassioned silent lecture to our pen greenhorn continued), the type of pen, (and yes, the type of paper too), will totally dictate the way in which the tip of the pen meets the paper, and moves against the paper. For example when it comes to ballpoint pens, unless one is using a foreign or slightly higher-end ballpoint ink, there can be little to no obvious difference between how the pen moves across the paper. The same can be said for gel, fountain (“fine” or “medium” nib being the question), or roller ball pens.

The world is chock full of these mediocre, everyday, run-of-the-mill, low-performing pens which scratch across the paper, and cause the users too much frustration while they attempt to "get the ink going" by performing the classic "scribble test" which usually ends in inkless dismay.

Outside of the fountain pen category, for a truly lovely “.7” experience, I vote for the uniball Gel Impact roller ball pen which not only provides an oozy ink delivery system, but which allows one’s hand to glide across the page with minimal effort. (The “glideability” of a pen truly drives my pen buying decisions.)

And for a truly “.5” ball point experience, I would counsel my naive friend to pick up the classic blue Papermate ink stick pen (blue ink). Although it is a super simple pen, it bears an elegant design, a cheerful color, and its ink delivery system actually does allow one’s hand to move nicely across the paper considering it is a ball point (versus a fountain or gel) pen, and it is super cheap.

What my pal at the pen store does not yet know (presumably) is that there is a whole other world of exquisite writing experiences to be had via the 1.0, . 9, .4, .3, and yes, even the .2 pen nib varieties. My new personal favorite is the Hi-Tec-C Slims .4 dual color pen offered by Pilot. Its size is akin to the classic Tiffany’s “purse” pen, and it is just an elegant for a fraction of the price. (I have it in silver with a white barrel). With the Pilot pen, one has the ability to flip back and forth between colors in seconds (say black and red for example), which makes it an excellent pen for meetings, and general note-taking because you can underscore the more salient details in red immediately..

And so in closing, I am still kicking myself for not having delivered that silent lecture out loud to our Office Depot friend who was sorely lacking nib knowledge. No doubt he would have enjoyed a great deal more of writing bliss by now had I dared to educate him...(smile)

And now, I am off to find the next perfect pen for this evening's writing project. Happy writing fellow pen lovers! I would be very curious to hear from other pen lovers as to what their top .7 and .5 picks would be. Do tell?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 Rollerball Pen - WOW!


And so there I was at Berkeley's Artist and Craftsman Supply a few weeks back, and they were re-arranging their pen section. Historically, I have always focused on the paint and canvas sections of this wonderful art supply store, but that day, I was able to see for the first time what a solid pen selection they offer.

And then I saw them - the Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 Rollerball pens, in black, red and royal blue. There were about 25 of them tucked away in a small unassuming white plastic bucket, as though they were everyday run of the mill pens. I was particularly drawn to the ivy green colored "BeGREEN" section found on all three colors of this pen which touts the fact that this pen is created from recycled content.

In recent times, I have tried writing with pens made of corn and other re-purposed materials only to find that they are more about "recycling" hype than a decent writing experience. And so I gingerly picked up the Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 Rollerball (Extra Fine), with absolutely zero belief that I was going to have anything remotely close to a satisfactory writing experience. But lo and behold! This pen flows like a river across the page, and it is super good looking to boot! I was delighted to discover this new take on the classic Pilot V5 Rollerball, and I daresay it delivers a superior writing experience than that of its predecessor at a very nice price, only $1.85 through www.jetpens.com.

And so I say to you, fellow pen lovers, get thee one of these beauties at your next opportunity. If you're committed to reducing landfill waste, and you like to write with a super fine line combined with a really nice ink flow, then this is the pen for you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bring me a great pen, or bring me death!


I don't know when it all started - this obsession with pens - but I do know that when I was a little girl, I was most happy with a pen in my hand, and lots of blank 8.5 x 11 paper with which to use that pen. Being that my mother was a high school business course teacher, there was always plenty of both items in supply at our house. She would have a collection of pens and pencils in a large empty coffee can which I would gleefully sort through upon arriving home from school for the latest additions to the collection.

I was the most disturbed as a child when a pen I was writing with ran out of ink, and that annoying scraping across the paper sensation occurred. And so, I suppose that since I first experienced that disappointing moment where in the midst of the expression of an idea, the pen ran out of ink, I have been trying my damndest to avoid that ever happening again. Hence my gargantuan collection of pens today!

And so while attending a birthday dinner at a popular Berkeley Japanese restaurant the other evening, a gentleman there suggested that I start a pen blog once he heard me pontificate endlessly about the new Sharpie pen which I had purchased as a gift for the birthday girl. Have you tried it? It is pretty cool looking, with a long silver retractable push-button experience, and a super tiny point, giving Sharpie lovers the Sharpie experience, but without the gradually drying and dulling nib that occurs when using the traditional Sharpie marker.